The Oracle's Queen
by Lynn Flewelling
Review by Carolyn Frank
Spectra Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 055358345X
Date: 27 June, 2006 List Price $7.50 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
What sets this story apart is that our heroine has been magicked into growing up as a boy in order to keep her safe from her blood-thirsty and power-hungry uncle. In the land of Skala, only a warrior queen will keep the land safe from pestilence and invasion. If Tamir, once Tobin, can manage to stay alive until she is old enough to rule, she can save her country.
The story features both Tamir, a decisive warrior although a rather moody teenager, and her best friend, Ki. Ki is somewhat the more interesting character, as he is just a local kid, brought in initially as a playmate for the boy-child Tobin. Ki is a normal enough teenage male who has to deal with his former playmate, who has changed sexes on him. Tamir's emotional zigzags would be hard enough for anyone to address. Having lost her entire family and even most of the wizards on whom she depended to madness or magic, Tamir needs Ki, in ways he initially lacks the emotional stature to respond.
The magical aspect is intriguing. Two different types of magic are employed: that of the wizards and oracles associated with the city and coastal dwellers of Skala, and that of the mountain-dwellers. The Skalan oracles and wizards perform a magic of divination and farseeing. The mountain-dwellers magic is more present, using music and physical touch to heal or to make a girl into a boy or to drive out ghosts and demons.
For those who are fond of battles and sword fights, the story has plenty. In terms of sex, this is a young adult fantasy. In terms of romance, it is a story of teenagers working out what is meant by love. In terms of page count, several hundred pages do little to advance the plot, but if one enjoys this particular world and its author, the book is a well written tale.